How are curious people viewed and how do they behave in social situations? From the perspectives of self, friends, parents, and unacquainted observers

J Pers. 2013 Apr;81(2):142-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2012.00796.x. Epub 2013 Feb 5.


Objective: People who are open and curious orient their lives around an appreciation of novelty and a strong urge to explore, discover, and grow. Researchers have recently shown that being an open, curious person is linked to healthy social outcomes.

Method: To better understand the benefits (and liabilities) of being a curious person, we used a multimethod design of social behavior to assess the perspectives of multiple informants (including self, friends, and parents) and behavior coded from direct observations in unstructured social interactions.

Results: We found an impressive degree of convergence among self, friend, and parent reports of curiosity, and observer-rated behavioral correlates of curiosity. A curious personality was linked to a wide range of adaptive behaviors, including tolerance of anxiety and uncertainty, positive emotional expressiveness, initiation of humor and playfulness, unconventional thinking, and a nondefensive, noncritical attitude.

Conclusions: This characterization of curious people provides insights into mechanisms underlying associated healthy social outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exploratory Behavior*
  • Female
  • Friends*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Parents*
  • Peer Group
  • Personality Tests
  • Personality*
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Behavior*